Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

April 2, 2013

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Knoxville — April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Knoxville, following proclamations by Mayor Don Zoutte and President Barack Obama. 

Zoutte read the City's proclamation at Monday's regular Knoxville City Council meeting. It reads: 

"Whereas, in our society, violence against women and children continues to escalate, and

Whereas, sexual violence affects every person in the city of Knoxville as a survivor or as a family member, significant other, neighbor or co-worker of a survivor; and

Whereas the city of Knoxville recognizes the importance of designating a time devoted to increasing the general public's awareness of sexual assault; and

Whereas, many citizens of Knoxville are dedicated to providing quality services and assistance to sexual assault survivors by staffing our 24-hour hotline, responding to emergency calls and offering support, resources, and advocacy during medical exams and criminal justice proceedings and 

Whereas, Knoxville's sexual assault volunteer advocates and staff members promote sexual assault prevention by offering educational programs to schools, churches and civic groups, as well as professional training to medical, mental health, law enforcement, education and criminal justice personnel regarding sexual assault issues, and

Whereas it is vitally important that continued educational efforts to provide information about the prevention and services of survivors of sexual violence be supported and enhanced; and

Whereas it is critical to intensify public awareness of sexual violence, to edcuate people about the need for citizen involvement in efforts to reduce sexual violence, to increase support for agencies providing sexual assault services, and to increase awareness of the healing power of creative expression; and

Whereas Crisis Intervention Services requests public support and assistance as it continues to work toward a society where all women, children and men cal live in peace, free from violence and exploitation;

Now, Therefore I, Mayor Donald Zoutte, Mayor of the City of Knoxville, Iowa, do hereby proclaim the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Knoxville, Iowa, and I commend this observance to all citizens." 

Zoutte signed it and the City's seal was placed upon the proclamation. The proclamation was then presented to Charisa Wotherspoon of Crisis Intervention Services.

President Obama has also declared this month as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. His proclamation reads: 

 

In the last 20 years, our Nation has made meaningful progress toward addressing sexual assault. Where victims were once left without recourse, laws have opened a path to safety and justice; where a culture of fear once kept violence hidden, survivors are more empowered to speak out and get help. But even today, too many women, men, and children suffer alone or in silence, burdened by shame or unsure anyone will listen. This month, we recommit to changing that tragic reality by stopping sexual assault before it starts and ensuring victims get the support they need.
 
Sexual violence is an affront to human dignity and a crime no matter where it occurs. While rape and sexual assault affect all communities, those at the greatest risk are children, teens, and young women. Nearly one in five women will be a victim of sexual assault during college. For some groups, the rates of violence are even higher -- Native American women are more than twice as likely to experience sexual assault as the general population. Moreover, we know rape and sexual assault are consistently underreported, and that the physical and emotional trauma they leave behind can last for years.
 
With Vice President Joe Biden's leadership, we have made preventing sexual violence and supporting survivors a top priority. Earlier this month, I was proud to sign the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which renews and strengthens the law that first made it possible for our country to address sexual assault in a comprehensive way. The Act preserves critical services like rape crisis centers, upholds protections for immigrant victims, gives State and tribal law enforcement better tools to investigate cases of rape, and breaks down barriers that keep lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender victims from getting help. It also expands funding for sexual assault nurse examiner programs and sexual assault response teams, helping States deliver justice for survivors and hold offenders accountable.
Just as we keep fighting sexual assault in our neighborhoods, we must also recommit to ending it in our military -- because no one serving our country should be at risk of assault by a fellow service member. Where this crime does take place, it cannot be tolerated; victims must have access to support, and offenders must face the consequences of their actions.
 
Members of our Armed Forces and their families can learn more about the resources available to them at 1-877-995-5247 and www.SafeHelpline.org.
 
All Americans can play a role in changing the culture that enables sexual violence. Each of us can take action by lifting up survivors we know and breaking the silence surrounding rape and sexual assault. To get involved, visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/1is2many.
 
Together, our Nation is moving forward in the fight against sexual assault. This month, let us keep working to prevent violence in every corner of America, and let us rededicate ourselves to giving survivors the bright future they deserve.
 
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2013 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. I urge all Americans to support survivors of sexual assault and work together to prevent these crimes in their communities.
 
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.